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LÉ William Butler Yeats Detains German Registered Fishing Vessel

LÉ William Butler Yeats Detains German Registered Fishing Vessel 250 Miles North-West of Malin Head.

The Naval Service Vessel LÉ William Butler Yeats has detained a German registered fishing vessel approximately 250 nautical miles north-west of Malin Head.

The detention was in relation to alleged breaches of fishing regulations. The vessel will be escorted to port, where on arrival it will be handed over to An Garda Sí­ochána.

This is the seventh vessel detained by the Naval Service in 2020. The Defence Forces conducts at sea fishery inspections in line with the service level agreement with the Sea Fishery Protection Authority, as part of its delivery of government services to the state.


LÉ William Butler Detains French Registered Fishing Vessel

The Naval Service Vessel LÉ William Butler Yeats has detained a French registered fishing vessel approximately 25 nautical miles west of Great Blaskett Island.

The detention was in relation to alleged breaches of fishing regulations. The vessel is being escorted to port, where on arrival it will be handed over to An Garda Sí­ochána.

This is the sixth vessel detained by the Naval Service in 2020. The Defence Forces conducts at sea fishery inspections in line with the service level agreement with the Sea Fishery Protection Authority, as part of its delivery of government services to the state.


Naval Service Officer Commissioning 2020


The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, Mr. Simon Coveney T.D. and the Defence Forces’ Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Mark Mellett DSM, attended the Naval Service Officer Commissioning Ceremony in Haulbowline Naval Base, Cork today Friday, 3rd of July 2020, at 12pm.

It was a very important and proud day for the members of the 58th Naval Service Cadet Class as they were awarded their Commissions. This represents the successful completion of two years intensive military and nautical training.

The four Cadets have completed a very demanding, challenging and rewarding course of basic Officer training including diverse subjects such as navigation, seamanship, leadership, communications, marine engineering and naval warfare.

The Cadets also completed sea time experience across the Naval Service fleet and commenced their first year of academic study for a Bachelor of Science in Nautical Science at the National Maritime College of Ireland.

Notes to Editors:

The attached event booklet contains details of the commissioning and information on the four cadets.

Link to booklet

Link to Flickr Album

Irish Troops Return to Dublin Airport from UNIFIL Mission in Lebanon

115 Irish troops from the 115th Infantry Battalion, United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) returned home early this morning to Dublin Airport following an eight month deployment which was extended due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

The personnel were transported to McKee Barracks for a medical screening before travelling home where they will undergo 14 day isolation period. The 115th Infantry Battalion are drawn primarily from 1 Brigade with personnel mainly from the South East and South of Ireland.

A total of 338 Defence Forces personnel deployed with the 115th Infantry Battalion.

The remainder of the contingent will rotate home in early July.

Note to Editors:

1 Brigade was the lead Formation for this deployment and contributed the main body of troops. The Defence Forces Training Centre, the Air Corps and Naval Service are also well represented.

The regular unit of the Defence Forces which provided the greatest contribution of personnel, totaling one hundred and thirty five (135), is the 3rd Infantry Battalion which is based in James Stephens Barracks, Co Kilkenny.

Personnel who served with the 115th Inf Bn represented twenty-four (24) counties across Ireland: Armagh 1, Donegal 1, Limerick 10, Roscommon 6, Carlow 13, Galway 13, Longford 3, Tipperary 18, Cavan 1, Kerry 2, Louth 5, Waterford 13, Clare 5, Kildare 33, Meath 2, Westmeath 9, Cork 64, Kilkenny 50, Offaly 7, Wexford 17, Down 1, Laois 7, Wicklow 4, Dublin 19.


UN Confirms Rotation Dates for Defence Forces Personnel deployed in Lebanon with UNIFIL Mission

The confirmed rotation of the 115th Irish Battalion home from Lebanon is now planned for 21st and 29th June 2020.

We acknowledge that this delay to the original rotation dates is disappointing to our personnel and their families who have been separated from their loved ones for over six months. Their sacrifice and resilience during this time of national crisis has been very commendable.

Confirmation of the rotation follows extensive engagement by the General Staff to secure an exemption from the UN, and for our troops to rotate home as close to the original dates as possible. 

Upon their arrival, personnel will be required to spend 14 days in self-isolation in accordance with HSE guidelines on COVID19.

The 116th Battalion will deploy to UNIFIL to take over control of the Irish Area of Responsibility. Before departure, they will have to complete a 14 day quarantine period in Coolmoney Camp and Gormanston Camp. This is in compliance with the UN Secretary General's Directive, issued on 04th April 2020.

Incident involving Air Corps Helicopter in Clondalkin

At approximately 5.52pm this evening, Thursday 21st May, the rear door of an Emergency Aeromedical Service helicopter detached while returning to Casement Aerodrome and landed in Moyle Park, Clondalkin. Nobody on the ground, or in the air, was injured in the incident.The crew of the AW139 helicopter had successfully completed a life saving mission to a Dublin hospital and were returning to Baldonnel for fuel.

The area in which the door fell was secured by Defence Forces personnel and An Garda Siochana within five minutes of the incident and an investigation team were on scene within thirty minutes. Once the area has been analysed the door will be removed and transported to Baldonnel.

The EAS service will recommence tomorrow, as normal, with a replacement aircraft and crew. A full investigation will be conducted into the cause of this incident.

LÉ William Butler Yeats (P63) Departs Sir John Rogerson's Quay, Dublin

At approximately 12pm today, the 15th of May, the Irish Naval Ship L.É. William Butler Yeats (P63) will depart Sir John Rogersons Quay, Dublin and return to routine security operations at sea. This completes an unbroken presence by the Naval Service since the 15th of March, where it has operated a COVID-19 Community Testing Centre in support of the HSE.

Naval Service Ships have acted in support of the HSE in Dublin, Galway and Cork since the 15th of March with L.É. Samuel Beckett the first to enter Dublin, L.É. William Butler Yeats in Galway on the 17th of March and L.É. Eithne in Cork. In total six ships have rotated through the three ports.

Throughout Operation ‘FORTITUDE’, Naval Ships have been supported by personnel from our Naval Service Reserve.

Over the last nine weeks, Naval Service Ships have supported the HSE and the National Ambulance Service in conducting almost 6,000 COVID-19 Tests in the National Effort to fight against the spread of the virus.

The Naval Service have completed a handover with their Army colleagues who will now operate the COVID19 testing centre at the Aviva Stadium as the Defence Forces continues to assist the HSE.

P63 Alongside in Dublin
P63 Alongside in Dublin



Operation FORTITUDE is the Defence Forces operation in response to COVID19. This is coordinated by the Defence Forces Joint Task Force in McKee Barracks, Dublin and includes the coordination of operations on Land, at Sea and in the Air.    

Army Bomb Disposal Team Make Safe Grenade at Harold's Cross

This evening, following a request from An Garda Síochána, an Army Bomb Disposal Team was tasked to investigate a suspected grenade found at Harolds Cross Bridge, Dublin. The team arrived at the scene at approximately 8.30pm.


On arrival a cordon was established for the duration of the operation. The item was assessed to be a War of Independence era mills grenade and was rendered safe at the scene. The team departed the scene at approximately 10.30pm.


Should members of the public encounter suspicious items, or hazardous substances, they are advised to maintain a safe distance and inform An Garda Síochána.

LÉ CIARA Detains French Registered Fishing Vessel Off Mizen Head

Late last night, the 12th of May, the Naval Service Vessel LÉ CIARA detained a French registered fishing vessel approximately 120 nautical miles South West of Mizen Head.

The detention was in relation to alleged breaches of fishing regulations. The vessel is being escorted to Castletownbere Co. Cork, where on arrival it will be handed over to An Garda Sí­ochána.

This is the fifth vessel detained by the Naval Service in 2020. The Defence Forces conducts at sea fishery inspections in line with the service level agreement with the Sea Fishery Protection Authority, as part of its delivery of government services to the state.


In the early hours of this morning, the Irish Air Corps completed the delivery of Irish COVID-19 tests to a laboratory in Germany. The delivery is the first of many to be undertaken by No.1 Operations Wing of the Air Corps over the coming weeks, using the newly acquired Pilatus PC-12 aircraft.

The Defence Forces have been tasked by Government to deliver COVID-19 tests to Germany as part of the continued HSE response to increase COVID-19 testing in Ireland. This task is being coordinated by the Air Corps and the Defence Forces Joint Task Force. The deliveries will be supplemented by the CASA CN235 aircraft in order to ensure redundancy in this State effort.

P64 Detains French Registered Fishing Vessel

Media Release 26th April 2020 3.30pm


This morning the Naval Service Vessel LÉ GEORGE BERNARD SHAW (P64) detained a French registered fishing vessel 180 nautical miles West of Mizen Head. The detention was in relation to an alleged breach of fishing regulations.

The vessel will be escorted to Castletownbere Co. Cork, where on arrival it will be handed over to An Gardaí­ Sí­ochána.

This is the fourth vessel detained by the Naval Service in 2020. The Defence Forces conducts at sea fishery inspections in line with the service level agreement with the Sea Fishery Protection Authority, as part of its delivery of government services to the state.


New technology to protect staff against COVID-19

Media Release 0930am, 17th April 2020

Aquila Bioscience delivers pathogen-removing technology to Irish frontline workers.

New technology to protect Defence Forces, HSE and An Post staff against COVID-19

This week Aquila Bioscience started delivery of AntiBioAgent Decontamination Wipes (ABDs) to frontline services in Ireland, including the Defence Forces, the HSE and An Post. ABDs will serve as a safe and effective decontamination wipe for first-responders, healthcare workers and postal workers to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

ABDs contain components that bind to and decontaminate the surface, trapping the virus for safe disposal. Unlike other decontamination methods, which contain chemicals that can be harmful to skin, ABDs contain no harmful ingredients and can be used on skin and sensitive mucosal areas such as eyes, nose and mouth (the main portals for virus infection).

Aquila is a spin-out of NUI Galway, and the concept for this technology was driven by the Irish Defence Forces and an identified capability need in the Chemical, Biological, Radiological & Nuclear (CBRN) protection measures. ABD technology was developed by University researchers to safely and effectively decontaminate multiple bio-threat agents (including viruses), and its use will significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Professor Lokesh Joshi, the founder of Aquila Bioscience and Vice-President for Research and Innovation at NUI Galway said that, “It was the pioneering work done with the Defence Forces Ordnance Corps in countering biological pathogens that led to the development of the ABDs, and the hope is by now putting these in the hands of frontline workers, it will allow them to more effectively protect themselves and the people they’re helping in the fight against coronavirus”.

Speaking today, Comdt Sharon McManus from the Defence Forces said: The Defence Forces needs to innovate their procedures and technologies regularly to deal with constant challenges presented to them, as well as to gain value and efficiency for the organisation. Research, technology & innovation activities are long term cycles and the ABDs are an example of this innovation cycle. Collaboration started with Aquila Bioscience over four years over, when the Ordnance Corps identified a need for a specific PPE which would deal with chemical agents and through the research and development phases also discovered its relevance for biological agents. Aquila Bioscience, of NUIG, an Irish start up, were the ideal partners to work with in developing this product. The personal protection of our key asset, our people, is of the utmost importance to the Defence Forces. The Defence forces have now procured a large quantity of these ABDs and these will be distributed to our troops both at home and overseas for ongoing force protection as well as during the Covid-19 crisis.

In welcoming the official launch of the ABD wipe, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett, DSM, Chief of Staff, Óglaigh na hÉireann remarked; “For many years I have been to the forefront in advocating for open diverse networks to sense and explore answers to challenging problems. In some cases we have created diverse partnerships to seize and exploit these ideas with a view to creating new technologies, with end user solutions to end user identified problems working with academia, enterprise and others. It was such a partnership that enabled our Defence Forces’ Ordnance Corps to collaborate with researchers from NUI Galway, as far back as 2016, to develop a cellulose based material for wipes and masks specifically designed to capture microbes such as COVID-19 virus, trapping them inside the material, thereby reducing transmission of the pathogen. I am delighted to see the culmination of our joint research and innovation with NUI Galway in delivering this non chemical, bio-degradable wipe for use by the Defence Forces and first responders from the HSE, An Post and others, during the COVID-19 crisis.”

While there is significant demand for ABDs from other international armed forces and healthcare providers, Aquila is currently focused on supplying public service agencies in Ireland. Prof Joshi added, “As we ramp up our production over the coming weeks we’ll be better able to supply some of the international agencies currently seeking our help in the struggle in their countries, and make this new technology part of the global fight against COVID-19”.


Aquila Bioscience is an Irish life science company set up by Professor Lokesh Joshi in Galway in 2012. It was spun out of The National University of Galway incubator program and today is still located on NUI Galway’s campus. The company’s area of expertise is in the fight against chronic and infectious diseases, primarily using cell stress and glycoscience. Aquila has developed a number of biochemical technologies, one of which has been applied in a proprietary product called AntiBioAgent Decontamination Wipes (ABDs). ABDs have been tested to be effective in the removal of dangerous pathogens found in the H1N1 influenza virus, Anthrax and E. coli.

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For more Information Contact:

Aquila Bioscience


+353 (0) 86 367 9288

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Promotion of Colonel Brian Cleary to Commander, Joint Task Force

Brigadier General Brian Cleary was appointed as Commander - Joint Task Force (JTF)

Brigadier General Brian Cleary was appointed as Commander - Joint Task Force (JTF) following its establishment on the 19th Mar 2020 in response to Ireland's COVID-19 threat.

A native of Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Brigadier General Cleary joined the Permanent Defence Forces in 1981 as a member of the 58th Cadet Class and was commissioned as an Officer into the Artillery Corps in 1983.

Military Experience

Brigadier General Cleary has held a wide variety of roles and appointments in the Artillery Corps, DF Public Relations, DF Special Operations, DF Military College and DFHQ Operations Division.

Overseas Experience

He has extensive overseas service with the United Nations, EU and NATO deploying to Lebanon, Western Sahara, East Timor, Cote D’Ivoire, Chad, and Afghanistan.


Brigadier General Cleary holds a Masters Degree in Organisational Behaviour (MSc OB) from Trinity College , Dublin and a Masters Degree in Leadership, Management & Defence Studies from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.


Brigadier General Cleary is married married to Martina and they have four children. His interests include reading, sports, outdoor pursuits, triathlon and choral singing.



In simple terms, a Joint Task Force (JTF) is a military grouping which either already exists as part of a military force or, as in the case of the Defence Forces, is formed for a specific purpose, for a limited time period. The ‘Joint’ aspect of the Task Force refers to its composition. It is military terminology for complementary forces from the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps, which are grouped together in joint operations, under a single command structure. We have named this military response Operation ‘FORTITUDE’.

In the case of COVID-19, the JTF provides, within means and capabilities, Aid to the Civil Authorities (ATCA) support to government departments and agencies (with priority to the Dept of Health and HSE), by providing personnel and equipment to a range of requests for support.

Brigadier General Brian Cleary has been appointed by government as the Commander of the JTF. Any Army, Air Corps and Naval Service components, combined for the purpose of conducting operations, are placed under command to General Cleary for the duration of their contribution to this Public Health emergency.


The JTF headquarters (HQ) is located in McKee Barracks, Blackhorse Ave, Dublin 7, with a staff of circa 40 military personnel. It was established on 19th March 2020 and became fully operational on 26th March. The JTF HQ has been responding to all COVID-19 tasks from the HSE and is preparing contingency plans for anticipated requests from the Principal Response Agencies (PRAs) and the civil authorities into the future.
Additionally, the JTF has an ‘inter-agency’ capacity and, if requested can host Government and other agencies and authorities, in McKee Barracks.

Meet the COM-JTF

Press Release Date: 06th Apr 2020

For Further Information contact:

Press Officer: Comdt. James O'Hara

Tel: 045 49 2502 , 045 49 2503

Mobile: 087 2482130

E-mail: Press Officer

Defence Forces Personnel Involved in Incident in Mali

Defence Forces Personnel Involved in Incident in Mali

Earlier today, Defence Forces personnel deployed with the United Nations MINUSMA mission in Mali were involved in an operational incident. While conducting a Patrol east of their base in GAO, three of our soldiers sustained minor injuries when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) exploded close to their convoy.

Our personnel have received medical treatment and are safe and well and their next of kin and families have been contacted. The Defence Forces conducts intensive  pre-deployment mission training in order to prepare our personnel for such an incident. 

Press Release Date: 25th February 2020

For Further Information contact:

Press Officer: Comdt. James O'Hara

Tel: 045 49 2502 , 045 49 2503

Mobile: 087 2482130

E-mail: Press Officer

Mother and Daughter make Defence Forces history

Earlier today in Aiken Barracks Dundalk, Sergeant Sandra Murphy and Private Sarah Fitzsimons made history as the first mother-daughter duo to serve in the Irish Defence Forces. After 27 weeks of intensive military training, Kildare Town native, Private Sarah Fitzsimons and her fellow comrades celebrated their passing out parade in the 27th Infantry Battalion. A proud mother seated in the audience, Sergeant Sandra Murphy watched her daughter receive her rank as a 3-star Private and begin her career in uniform.  The mother-daughter duo are the first ever mother and daughter to serve together.

For many years, Sarah witnessed her mother forge a rewarding yet challenging career in the Defence Forces with often time spent apart as Sandra was deployed overseas to Lebanon, Kosovo, Uganda and Syria through her 25 years'service. Sandra is a highly skilled communications and information technician and played a key role in her daughter making the decision to follow her footsteps to the military and indeed into the Communications and Information Services (CIS) Corps. Prior to her career in the Irish Defence Forces, Sarah completed her Leaving Cert and went to further her studies by doing a PLC course in Criminology, Security & Legal studies.

The 30 recruits of the 57th Recruit Platoon began their intense training on July 15th in Aiken Barracks, Dundalk. Coming from all corners of the Country, they dedicated their time to learning and perfecting their skills that enabled them to meet the required standard of a trained soldier. Platoon Commander, Lt Conor O’Brien congratulated the young privates on their achievement and wished them well  as they move forward with their career in the Defence Forces. 

Press Release Date: 20th November 2019

For Further Information contact:

Press Officer: Comdt. James O'Hara

Tel: 045 49 2502 , 045 49 2503

Mobile: 087 2482130

E-mail: Press Officer

Diving Operation For Irish Fishing Vessel “Alize”

Diving Operation For Irish Fishing Vessel “Alize” Which Sank Off Hook Head

On request from An Garda Síochána, Óglaigh na hÉireann deployed the Naval Service Diving Section to conduct operations at the site of Irish fishing Vessel “Alize” which sank off Hook Head on the 4th of January.

Operating from the Commissioners of Irish Lights vessel ILV Granuaile with support from LÉ Samuel Beckett, naval personnel over the last two days conducted specialised surface-supplied diving operations and have this afternoon recovered a body from the wreck.

The remains have been embarked onboard the LÉ Samuel Beckett and will be brought ashore later this evening.

Press Release Date: 24th January 2020

For Further Information contact:

Press Officer: Comdt. James O'Hara

Tel: 045 49 2502 , 045 49 2503

Mobile: 087 2482130

E-mail: Press Officer

Defence Forces Year in Review 2019

Defence Forces Year In Review Statement 2019

As 2019 draws to a close, we have complied an end of year summary of Defence Forces Security Operations and training activities throughout 2019, both at home and overseas. To access some of our best images of the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps in 2019, please follow the links to our Flickr account at the end of our statement.

Domestic Operations

The Defence Forces conducted a wide range of Defence & Security Operations in 2019. Our deployments included Aid to Civil Power & Aid to the Civil Authority operations on a daily basis supporting An Garda Síochána, HSE, Local Authorities and other key agencies of the State. Some examples of these activities are:

The Army conducted over 195 Aid to the Civil Power Operations in support of An Garda Síochána involving Explosive Ordnance Disposal (Bomb Squad) call outs, Prisoner Escorts, Explosive Escorts, major Cash Escorts and Search Operations.

The Defence Forces deployed approximately 2,614 personnel on Joint Security Operations during State Visits including POTUS and VPOTUS. 

Members of the Defence Forces continue to provide a permanent armed guard at Ireland’s only maximum-security prison, Portlaoise Prison as well as the Central Bank and Irish Industrial Explosives.

The Defence Forces contributed personnel and expertise supporting the Department of Communications. Climate Action and Environment National Cyber Security Centre.

Over 336 personnel, including the Engineer Specialist Search Teams, deployed to assist in 14 various searches on request from An Garda Siochana.

Approximately 120 personnel were deployed to assist civil authorities during multiple operations, including combating gorse fires in Wicklow, Donegal and Mayo.

The Defence Forces deployed ambulances and crews on seven occasions throughout the year in Dublin, Cork and Kildare to assist the NAS.

As the States principal sea going agency, the Naval Service conducts maritime defence and security operations within a patrol area of 220 million acres of sea (over 12 times the land mass of Ireland), representing 15% of Europe’s fisheries.

The fleet conducted approximately 780 boarding operations and detained 12 vessels for alleged infringements of fishing regulations in support of the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority.

In April the LÉ GEORGE BERNARD SHAW was commissioned into service bringing the P60 project to a close.

The Naval Service Diving Section were deployed for 26 operations in 2019 including 4 separate search and recovery operations following requests from An Garda Síochána, and 2 requests from the Coast Guard.

The Air Corps conducts Maritime Defence and Security Operations in Ireland's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) through its Maritime Patrol Squadron which carries out aerial surveillance of territorial waters using two CASA CN-235 maritime patrol aircraft.  The Air Corps conducted in excess of *130 (current figure 128 on 29 Nov) Maritime Surveillance Patrol flights in 2019.

The Air Corps completed more than *233 Emergency Aeromedical Services missions supporting the HSE in providing a medical service for seriously ill patients in isolated rural communities.

The Air Corps provided *32 inter hospital Air Ambulance service support to the HSE in response to time critical medical emergencies. 20 of these flights required patient delivery to UK or mainland Europe.

The Air Corps responded to several requests to provide aerial fire-fighting to protect vulnerable property in the ATCA role.

The Air Corps participated in a multi-national pollution monitoring operation in the North Sea.

The Air Corps continues to support the Garda Air Support Unit flights in 2019.

(*most recent figures)

International Operations

The Defence Forces has the longest unbroken record of overseas service with the United Nations of any country in the world since first deploying to a United Nations mission in 1958.

In 2019, Defence Forces personnel served overseas on missions with the United Nations, NATO PfP (Partnership for Peace), EU and OSCE Peace Support and Security Operations across 14 missions in 13 countries. There are currently 595 Defence Forces personnel serving overseas.

The largest Defence Forces deployment is in South Lebanon with UNIFIL, where 338 Irish personnel are deployed to maintain a safe and secure environment. In November 2019, Ireland partnered with Poland on this mission, enhancing and developing our interoperability with Partner Nations. The Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) also contribute nine personnel to IRISHPOLBATT.

Ireland currently has 138 personnel deployed with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force in the Golan Heights, Syria (UNDOF). Our ongoing Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) upgrade programme saw nine new APCs deployed to UNDOF in November 19, enhancing force protection and mobility for our troops in theatre.

Brigadier General Maureen O’Brien took up the appointment of Deputy Force Commander, UNDOF in September 2019.

The Defence Forces commenced its first deployment to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in September 2019. The DF contribution to this mission includes staff officers in Force HQ in Bamako and Army Ranger Wing (ARW) personnel with the German Reconnaissance (ISR) Task Force.

Ireland currently has 3 personnel (2 x NS, 1 x AC) working in the Operational HQ of the EU Naval Force Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR-MED) on Operation Sophia in Rome. The mission’s strategic objective is to disrupt organised criminal networks involved in illicit activities, including smuggling of migrants, human trafficking and terrorism.

During 2019, the Defence Forces deployed one ordnance officer, on three occasions, as a member of the Joint Technical Group on Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (JTGDDR) to Mozambique.

In August 2019, ten personnel deployed as part of the Force HQ Staff with the EU Battlegroup (EUBG) 2020 to Stadtallendorf, Germany.

Innovation and Collaboration

Publication of the Defence Enterprise Strategy

Formal guidelines and processes are now in place in the Defence Enterprise space. Innovation and collaboration projects now have this document to build on the positive policies given to this subject in the Defence White Paper.

Funding from DPER through OPS2020 for the MORIGEN project.

This is a prime example of how the Chief of Staff Innovation Awards realised real resources from outside of the DF. It is also an excellent example of the valuable contribution of our reserve personnel as it was an Army Reservist who developed the project, got seed funding from DF and has now received significantly larger monies from DPER to get this innovative Virtual Reality Training System off the ground.


The Ordnance Corps is a consortium member in a successful H2020 project with partners from national and international organisations, the project secured over 4.7m in research funding. This project is based on dealing with the aftermath of a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNe) event and is producing cutting-edge technology for use in the field of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD). The Ordnance Corps of the Defence Forces provides front-line end user expertise and oversight to the project. The project concluded with a successful demonstration of the technology in Baldonnel Aerodrome this September.

Chief Of Staff Innovation Awards

This year’s COS innovation awards built on the success of previous years and has become the flagship event of Innovation recognition in the DF.

Training and Education

We train for what we can predict and we educate for what we cannot. As our personnel are our greatest strength, we place a significant focus on training and education to ensure that we develop our personnel and prepare them for complex operating environments, domestically and overseas.

461 Recruits (21 Females) and 96 Cadets (14 Female) were inducted to the Defence Forces and began their military training in 2019. 8 of those cadets where serving members who moved from enlisted ranks and 24 Defence Forces personnel who began their Potential Officers course in 2018 were commissioned on 13 March 2019.

Approximately 166 Defence Forces personnel completed traditional Honours Degree courses, of which 2 Defence Forces personnel completed Masters Courses through Continuous Professional Development programmes.

1,051 Skill Courses were conducted by the Defence Forces in 2019 with 13,412 student days developing and maintaining Defence Force capabilities.

601 Defence forces personnel underwent 35 Career courses, developing their leadership, planning and decision making skills.

Approximately 1,900 Defence Forces personnel underwent overseas pre-deployment mission readiness training ranging from counter IED to medical first responder training, radio and communications skills to armour vehicle driving. This number also includes members of the army ranger wing deployment to Mali.

Ceremonial Events 2019

The Defence Forces participated in more than 50 significant military and State ceremonial Events in 2019.

The Defence Forces participated in the annual State commemoration ceremonies, including the commemoration of the 103rd anniversary of the Easter Rising at the GPO, O’Connell Street; the 1916 Leaders Commemoration at Arbour Hill and at the National Day of Commemoration at the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham. 

The Defence Forces participated in the National Famine Commemoration, held this year in Sligo.

State ceremonial honours were afforded on the occasion of the State Visit to Ireland of the King and Queen of Sweden in May, The King and Queen of Netherlands in June and The President of Cuba in October. Honours were also afforded to Uachtarán na hḖireann, H.E. President Michael D. Higgins, on the occasion of his departure for a State visit to Germany in July.

The Defence Forces participated in a series of monthly ceremonies at Áras an Uachtaraín where a total of 35 Ambassadors presented their Credentials of Office to Uachtarán na hḖireann.

A Ceremony took place in Waterford to mark the naming and commissioning of the Naval Vessel L. É. George Bernard Shaw in April, attended by An Taoiseach. 

A special State ceremony was held in Collins Barracks Dublin in April of this year to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of the Reserve Defence Force. As part of these commemorations, a parade was held at which Minister with responsibility for Defence conducted a review of The Reserve Defence Forces.

The Defence Forces Remembrance Ceremony was held at The National Memorial, Merrion Square in December to remember those members of the Defence Forces who have given their lives in the service of the State. As part of this ceremony The Minister with Responsibility for Defence laid a wreath at The National Memorial along with families of deceased members.

Throughout 2019, a variety of other ceremonial and support duties were performed across the country by members of the Defence Forces in support of State and other ceremonial events.

Best of 2019 Photo Albums


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Naval Service

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Air Corps

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Overseas Missions

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Irish Personnel in MINUSMA

Irish Personnel as part of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)

The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) was established by Security Council resolution 2100 of 25 April 2013 to support political processes in Mali and carry out a number of security-related tasks.

Under the terms of the most recent renewal of the resolution (Resolution 2480 – 2019), the mission supports the political process and carries out a number of security-related stabilisation tasks, with a focus on major population centres and lines of communication, protecting civilians, human rights monitoring, the creation of conditions for the provision of humanitarian assistance and the return of displaced persons, the extension of State authority and the preparation of free, inclusive and peaceful elections.

In early September 2019, the Defence Forces deployed a contingent of Special Operations Forces (SOF) personnel as part of the German-led Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Task Force (ISR TF) located in Sector East, MINUSMA. Defence Forces personnel, along with other personnel from Germany, Belgium, Lithuania, Switzerland, Estonia, Czech Republic and Romania are located at Camp Castor in Gao. In addition, a small number of Defence Forces personnel have taken up positions in the MINUSMA Force Headquarters in Bamako.

The role of Defence Forces personnel within the ISR TF is to support the collection of information within the operational environment for the accurate development, decision and implementation of mandate activities. Irish soldiers play a key role within the ISR TF, utilising niche capabilities and drawing on expertise gained from previous overseas missions, such as East Timor, Liberia and Chad. Their role involves the conduct of patrols throughout Sector East in an effort to collect information from the local population.

The Defence Forces has also contributed to the European Union Training Mission in Mali since 2013. The primary function of the EU led mission is to train members of the Malian Defence and Security Forces.

Press Release Date: 20th November 2019

For Further Information contact:

Press Officer: Comdt. James O'Hara

Tel: 045 49 2502 , 045 49 2503

Mobile: 087 2482130

E-mail: Press Officer

Irish Troops Return to Dublin Airport

Irish Troops Return to Dublin Airport Following a Six Month Deployment with UNIFIL in South Lebanon.

​232 Irish troops from the 114th Infantry Battalion, United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) will return to T1, Dublin Airport tonight, 18th November at 2.45pm following a six month deployment.

The personnel will be met by their families and friends in the Arrivals Hall. The 114th Infantry Battalion are drawn primarily from 2 Brigade with personnel mainly drawn from the North West of Ireland.

A total of 451 Defence Forces personnel deployed with the 114th Infantry Battalion. Some of the contingent have already returned home having rotated with members of 115th Infantry Battalion.

Press Release Date: 17th November 2019t 2019

For Further Information contact:

Press Officer: Comdt. James O'Hara

Tel: 045 49 2502 , 045 49 2503

Mobile: 087 2482130

E-mail: Press Officer